Celebrate 'LOST' Numbers Day With The Show's Mysterious "4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42"-Themed Episodes
To the average joe, catching glimpse of an odd “15” on a sales receipt, “23” on a license plate, or “42” on various pages of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy paperback wouldn’t incur much notice. But to a Lost obsessive, any one of these numeric phenomena might be grounds for a midday nervous breakdown — especially today, which is, as those Lost obsessives know, Lost numbers day. Trust me, you do not want to find yourself ensnared by this pattern.
The aforementioned numbers, for anyone who hasn't ever seen island-set series, are part of a six-figure sequence (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42) that played a role of great, yet ambiguous, significance throughout the show. Appearing diversely as a collection, independently, and in varied clusters, the numbers lined and enlivened the universe of Lost, emboldening its central mythos with what might have turned out to be its most probing mystery of all.
Today, April 8, 2015, marks either a dream come true or the ultimate nightmare for this caliber of Lost lover. Exactly 42 seconds after the clock strikes 4:23 PM, the date and time will in fact be 4/8/15 16:23:42. Connotations good or bad, in-universe explanations satisfactory of otherwise, it’s the sort of thing that the geekiest of the lot of Lost fans can’t help but get at least a little excited over.
And so, in celebration of this once-in-a-life-time turn of events, we have a remembrance of all the biggest number-centric episodes from the original series.
“Numbers” (Season 1, Episode 18)
We are introduced to the numbers through Rousseau and Hurley's first maniacal flashback. We watch a pre-island Hugo Reyes suffer the wrath of the digits' black magic after learning of their significance from a fellow psychiatric patient. After winning the lottery on a ballot filled with the numbers in question, Hurley and his family begin to see some dark, dark turns of fate.
“Exodus, Part 2” (Season 1, Episode 24/25)
The numbers begin showing up everywhere, unbeknownst to those operating at their behest. They lead Hurley and his fellow island-bound citizens to Flight Oceanic 815, and show up on the island as the serial number marking the Season 2 plot fixture, "The Hatch."
“Man of Science, Man of Faith" (Season 2, Episode 1)
Through the numbers, we meet Desmond, who is enslaved by the mysterious power they have over the island and its flow of internal energy.
“Orientation” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Not quite up to the task of keeping the island from exploding, we have Locke, who just can't quite seem to remember: Is he supposed to punch in "32" or "42"?
“The Substitute” (Season 6, Episode 4)
After several season of wondering, we get something in the vein of an answer: the almighty Jacob assigns one of the six numbers to each of the castaways he has deemed worthy of taking on his gig as island savior. It's not much, but it's something.
“Lighthouse” (Season 6, Episode 5)
A little cooler: the numbers coincide with the aforementioned individuals in the island lighthouse, allowing a glimpse into any one of their lives by simply choosing the right number.
Images: ABC (7)